19.8.12

Remy Charlip


  …I LOVE
YOUR HANDS,
YOUR TEETH,
YOUR NOSE,
YOUR ANKLES,
FEET,
AND ALL
TEN TOES.
I LOVE
YOUR WEST,
YOUR EAST,
YOUR CHEST.
IT’S HARD
TO SAY
WHAT I
LOVE BEST…

In the newspaper yesterday morning I came across an obituary for Remy Charlip.  With sadness and admiration, I read every word.  I was familiar with Remy Charlip only through Sleepytime Rhyme -- a book I love very much.  On the inside of the book jacket cover, there is a brief blurb which mentions the fact that Mr. Charlip had written a number of books and was also a choreographer.  At the time I read the book jacket blurb, this information seemed satisfactory to me, however, after reading his obituary, I have come to learn that this blurb barely scratches the surface of Mr. Charlip's delightfully creative career.  I learned that he was not just a choreographer -- he was a founding member of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company; the choreography he created which intrigues me most, however, is a series of pieces called "Air Mail Dances" which were based on a drawings sent through the mail to choreographers who then used the drawings to guide their dancers through movements onstage.

All told, Remy Charlip authored and illustrated 27 picture books for children, so you can well imagine that, as soon as I was finished reading the newspaper, I hopped online to see which of his books were owned by my local library system.  And, interestingly, Mr. Charlip has another intriguing connection to recent children's literature...

At the time he was writing and illustrating The Invention of Hugo Cabret, author Brian Selznick made the acquaintance of Mr. Charlip.  Brian Selznick realized that Mr. Charlip looked exactly as he had imagined his character of Georges Melies to appear and so asked his new friend to sit as a model for illustrations. The Invention of Hugo Cabret is a wonderful book and so this association made me smile...

Dear reader, if you come across a copy of Sleepytime Rhyme, I hope you love it as much as I do.  And to you, Mr. Charlip, I wish sweet dreams.

1 comment:

  1. Lovely tribute. It is inspiring to see how the author/illustrator/ published side of Mr. Charlip's journey is only one small part of a beautiful life. It gives me courage, and hope - to live all the facets to the fullest. I will seek out more of his work this week!

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